Oral pathology is the specialty of dentistry and pathology that deals with the nature, identification, and treatment of diseases affecting the oral and maxillofacial regions. It is the diagnosis and study of the causes and effects of diseases that begin in the mouth or jaw. Oral pathologists are experts in this field who require an average of 37 months of advanced education to become proficient. Patients may visit an oral and maxillofacial surgeon to evaluate and treat oral pathology.
The scope of oral pathology is wide, and in addition to the dentist and oral surgeon, these specialists are needed to perform a comprehensive diagnosis, management, and treatment of injuries. If abnormal tissue occurs in the mouth, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon may need to remove a small portion and send it for testing. This is known as a biopsy, and tissue samples are taken using a variety of cutting instruments. The pathologist will send a report to the surgeon, who will discuss the results in detail with you.
Sometimes a second biopsy may be necessary if the results of the first biopsy are not definitive. Oral pathology is essential in dental care, as it allows us to diagnose symptoms and administer appropriate treatment quickly when there is a problem. It deals with the identification and treatment of oral diseases affecting the maxillofacial and oral regions. Risk factors for oral diseases include smoking, drinking, poor oral hygiene, unhealthy diet, and social determinants of health and well-being.
If you're not sure what's going on with your mouth, you should seek the help of an expert dentist or oral surgeon as soon as possible. If you or your dentist detect any abnormalities, you may be referred to an oral and maxillofacial pathologist, who will review your medical history and perform a thorough oral exam, including an oral cancer screening.When there are problems in the mouth, such as discomfort, tenderness, bleeding or unusual gum symptoms, oral pathology helps to find the answers. Biopsies are taken in the office under local anesthesia and are also evaluated by oral pathologists. The evaluation includes a complete examination of the head and neck with an oral exam and, in many cases, the use of photographs to keep accurate records of the injury.The main cause of oral diseases is Human Papillomavirus (HPV), followed by smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.
A significant part of the pain and suffering caused by these diseases can be prevented by avoiding these risk factors.